Monday 17 June 2019

Ireland seeking to capitalise on legal sector opportunities post-Brexit

A new initiative is being backed by the Council of The Bar of Ireland in conjunction with the Law Society of Ireland.

Charlie Flanagan said a new legal services initiative will form a component of the Government’s Brexit strategy (Liam McBurney/PA)
Charlie Flanagan said a new legal services initiative will form a component of the Government’s Brexit strategy (Liam McBurney/PA)

By Michelle Devane, Press Association  

The Irish Government has launched a new initiative to make the country a global hub for legal services post-Brexit.

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan said the aim of the initiative, which is being led by the Council of The Bar of Ireland in conjunction with the Law Society of Ireland, was to “positively exploit” opportunities in the legal sector after the UK leaves the EU.  It is also supported by the IDA.

Mr Flanagan said it would now form a component of the Government’s Brexit strategy.

It comes after cabinet ministers met on Thursday to discuss the country’s contingency plans in the event of a no-deal.

We recognise the initiative as a timely means of positively exploiting the competitive advantages of our courts and legal systems, which are of global renown, in the provision of EU and other international legal services in a post-Brexit setting Charlie Flanagan

They agreed to prepare Brexit legislation over the coming weeks, but not introduce it into parliament until March if needed.

Minister Flanagan said: “While the ultimate outcome of the Brexit negotiations remains to be seen, the withdrawal of the UK from the European Union will leave Ireland as the only English-speaking common law jurisdiction in the Union.

“We will be well-placed to provide expanded international litigation and arbitration services.”

He added: “We recognise the initiative as a timely means of positively exploiting the competitive advantages of our courts and legal systems, which are of global renown, in the provision of EU and other international legal services in a post-Brexit setting.”

The Council of the Bar of Ireland welcomed the government’s approval of the initiative.

Chairman Micheal P O’Higgins SC said: “We are already seeing an uptake in international businesses seeking to make Ireland their European base, so it is prudent that there would be a co-ordinated and strategic approach – across all sectors – to ensure that Ireland capitalises on this in whatever way it can.

“The legal sector is no different and that is why the Council of The Bar of Ireland has been driving this initiative for the past 18 months.”

He added: “The growth of international legal services here stands to deliver a very positive knock-on effect because if Ireland becomes a place in which international litigation and arbitration is routinely carried out, it also inevitably enhances the reputation of Ireland as a place to do business.

“The UK’s departure from the EU creates a real opportunity for Ireland, not only for legal services but also for the wider economy. We have estimated that even a 1% movement of legal services from the UK to Ireland could add between 1,100 and 1,600 jobs to the Irish economy in a year.”

Press Association

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